It's awards season. That means that over the next few weeks you are going to hear a awful lot about this year's favored movie: The Artist. The Artist has all the makings of a critical darling: It's a black and white silent film set in the late 1920's about a silent film actor whose career is being threatened by the invention of "Talkies." It's charming, well-made, and you should see it if you can. However, if you are like many people, The Artist is not readily available in your area for viewing.
Though it isn't a perfect substitution for actually seeing The Artist, it is possible to stream a movie by the same director (Michel Hazanavicius) starring the same two lead actors (Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo) in the comfort of your own home. How often does that happen? (Okay, so if you are Tim Burton, it happens a lot).
The film I am referring to is OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies. OSS is a foreign (French) spy spoof that manages to be more successful as a satire than its American cousins (Get Smart, Austin Powers, etc.).
The story follows special agent OSS 117 as he investigates the disappearance of his colleague -- with whom he has er, an "interesting" relationship -- in Cairo in 1955. Agent 117 is just like James Bond, except he's dim, arrogant, misogynistic, and prejudiced. It is a testament to Dujardin's skill as an actor that he portrays Agent 117 as a likeable, if not wholly insightful individual. Durjardin's performance in this film is at least as enjoyable as it is in The Artist with the added bonus that in this film he actually speaks.
While in Cairo Agent 117 must work with his missing colleague's former assistant played by the elegant Berenice Bejo. And based on my description of Agent 117 and what you probably know about the James Bond films, I don't think I need to explain how that relationship works out.
The movie is a lot of fun, most of the jokes work, the chemistry between Durjadin and Bejo is infectious, and if you really enjoy it you can immediately watch the sequel -- OSS 117: Lost in Rio -- also streaming on Netflix. What's not to like about that?